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Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Term Paper Title: Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Word Count: 1135
Page Count: 4.54 (250 words per page double spaced)

Shakespeare’s Macbeth





Shakespeare’s Macbeth is set in medieval Scotland, and has been produced by many different directors in the 20th century.  Roman Polanski directed the 1971 production of Macbeth.  It is interpreted to be a blood-thirsty vicious 70s thriller, and accrues that “Good always Prevails”.  However the 1996 production by Jeremy Freeston is expressed as a more subtle and delicate production that suggests readings such as “Evil is the wrong way to build Social Status”.  Both the productions included similar and different techniques used to construct these readings.  Like the different uses of Verbal expressions, Non-verbal expressions, Script and Relationships.  These techniques are used by the producers to construct different readings/interpretations in order to change people’s interpretations of the films due to their background and history.  Act 1 Scene 7 is set at Macbeth’s castle, where Macbeth himself is considering killing King Duncan, who would be the guest for the evening…!  The technical aspects of the film are also important, like Tone of voice, Costume, Setting, Lighting, Shot Construction, Camera Angles, Gestures, Delivery of Script, Editing of Script, and contribute greatly to the way the scene is interpreted.


In Polanski’s production, MacBeth is constructed as a dual-minded blood-thirsty killer that once “Draws first blood, will draw again”.  He is constructed like this so that the movie can set out to be the bloody thriller that it is.  During the film, his use of verbal and non-verbal communication seems realistically absent during the scene.  This may have been to psyche himself up for the homicide that he was about to commit.  The script is altered several times in this production, and pieces of material have been excluded from the film.  This may have been because if the entire script was read, word for word, it would create the wrong interpretations that Polanski was trying to create.


The Technical Aspect of this film was imperative to the interpretation and readings that stemmed from these underlying focuses.  To a large extent, the tone of voice of the characters is a very important factor to these constructions.  Macbeth seemed very submissive, frightened and Unconfident in his tone of voice, and this may have been to construct him as a very submissive person.  However, Lady Macbeth on the other hand was very confident, speaking out to Macbeth to go through with the plan, but in no way aggressive towards Macbeth.  She stated if he did not kill Duncan, then he would not be a real “Man”.  This may have been for Gender construction and domination in the film.  At the same time, Lighting and Shot Construction are just important.  Half-way through the scene, a window gushes open, and a loud “BANG” of lightning sound, and lighting effect the room, putting out all candles.  Out of this, it is interpreted that “Evil” is arising, and something “Bad” is going to occur.  This seems to be a common stereotyped viewpoint of lightning, thunder and most commonly “Darkness” that they are “Evil tokens”!  An effect of silencing the King and all others during Macbeth’s Soliloquies is to provide an invisible barrier between Macbeth and everyone else.  But it could be interpreted that silencing of the King could have a direct correlation to the ultimate silencing of him forever, which is ‘Death’.  Camera techniques took shots of the castle being struck by lighting, which again ties in with common stereotypes.  


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